Sweetwater Founder and President Chuck Surack said, "We regret having to take action, but we believe that the integrity of the MI business is at stake. We are acting not only on our own behalf, but in the interest of all online retailers who invest in the creation of unique content."
For example, Sweetwater has informed Chicago Music Exchange of copyright infringement and the misuse of Sweetwater's proprietary web content. In return, Sweetwater has received a letter of apology from Chicago Music Exchange President David Kalt. The document includes assurances that all misused content has been removed from its website and that no Sweetwater content will be misappropriated in the future.
Sweetwater's V.P. of E-Commerce Mike Clem said, "Other MI websites have been lifting our content for years, and typically they remove such content from their websites quickly after we bring it to their attention. It's typically caused by an employee taking a shortcut. Owners, who often aren't even aware of it, take immediate corrective measures. In this instance, we thought the misuse of our content was much more widespread, so we felt the need to take a more aggressive approach to solving the problem."
Senior V. P. of Marketing Michael Ross said, "We're taking a stand because we feel that we're all in the music retail business together and we should all respect the content and innovations of our fellow retailers, in the same spirit that none of us would like someone stealing a piece of gear off our showroom floor."
Sweetwater.com is known throughout the industry for its many innovations, including Guitar Gallery, inSync, Case Finder, Cable Finder, as well as the thousands of helpful, informational articles about music technology issues. Also, an enormous amount of creative work by Sweetwater writers goes into the product descriptions on literally every product page on Sweetwater's website.
Sweetwater Founder and President Chuck Surack said, "For years, many companies have been copying the innovative, pioneering stuff we've created on the web. While 'imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,' lifting and copying our content verbatim is entirely different. Like any creative artist would, we need to protect our work and the extraordinary efforts of our employees."
In Chicago Music Exchange's written confirmation of compliance, the company recognizes Sweetwater as the "rightful owner of certain trademarks," is the "rightful owner of certain original works, including, for example, text and images, and that collectively these materials comprise Sweetwater's "intellectual property." Chicago Music Exchange also agrees not to â€œoppose or challenge any of Sweetwater's rights in the intellectual property."
Mike Clem concluded, "Sweetwater has put in place a highly sophisticated search mechanism for finding our content on other websites. Our fervent hope is that the problem will soon go away and our searching will no longer turn up misuse."